The sweater knows all

My mom brought a pink sweater back from her trip to Ireland for me.  It’s interesting because when I looked at it I realized that it didn’t really resemble anything in my wardrobe these days.  For the last year, I’ve been making all my style choices with  bohemian/California Casual/hippie in mind, so my daily wardrobe is comprised of casual, Earth-tone, peasant blouses and boots, etc.  Not pink sweaters.  That’s more American Classic territory.  But I love the pink sweater and because it’s from Ireland, it’s super warm — those people know warm, that’s for sure.


So the other day, I wore my pink sweater to pick up Emerson at this huge Girl Scout’s sports expo event.  There were long sign-in tables everywhere and efficient women with clipboards running around.  As soon as I got close to the building, a woman walked up to me and said, “You’re in charge of that table over there, right?”  Confused, I said, “Uh, no.”  The woman’s head tilted slightly, also confused, then she said, “Oh.  Well, then you’re in charge of handing out the swag bags to the girls.”  Once again, I had to say no.  The woman stopped and just stared at me.  Finally, she said, “Wait.  Are you a parent?”  I said yes, and she started laughing, explaining that she just assumed I was in charge of something.

I can promise you that situation would have never ever happened if I was dressed in my hippie clothes — no one assumes you’re in charge if you look like a hippie.  In fact, they assume you have no idea what’s going on and just that’s the way I like it.  But when you put on a v-neck pull over, suddenly, you are a person that answers questions.  You are responsible.  Your car is clean and your never miss a dental cleaning.

This experience reminded me so much of My Year of Fabulous, when I was treated differently based on what style I was wearing.  I thought of what Nina Garcia says, “With style, you show the world who you are.”

Later on, when Emmy and I went to the store to pick up some groceries, a woman stopped me and asked me if I knew where the raisins were.

I said, Of course, I know where the raisins are.  After all, I’m wearing a pink sweater.


  • Becky says:

    You have just explained so much of my life to me. I now understand why some days I say “How are you doing?” and I can’t get a nice, simple, wasp-y “Just fine, thanks.” I wear pull overs.

    • Holly Hester says:

      Everyone should say a nice wasp-y Just fine, thanks! to you! Maybe try wearing a beret or newsboy hat — you’ll look even more official.

      • Becky says:

        Dear, God, if I added a beret to my outfit (I’m also usually wearing a scarf that I knitted myself which is far less impressive than it sounds when you consider it is because a-I’m cheap and b-I Can Not master necklace lengths), I would expected to not only organize the meals for when you have a baby, have a sitter recommendation, and solid marital advice but also have a frozen casserole I could whip out to send home with you In My Purse.

  • mommyneedsacocktail says:

    The Pink Sweater looks great on you. Obviously you’re in charge of the table, swag and know where the raisins are. What I’d really like to see is the sweater take charge at the hot springs. Can’t wait for your book with your husband’s delightful illustrations!

  • Can’t stop laughing — I love your writing! And I thing I need a pink sweater!

  • Marsha says:

    Love the pink sweater. You don’t happen to know where I put my glasses, do you?

    • Holly Hester says:

      Have you looked on top of your head? (That’s from an old I love Lucy — Fred looks for his glasses every day and Ethel has to remind him that he left them on his head. He then takes the glasses off and says, “If they’d been a snake, they’d bite me.” I don’t really know why I remember that and not something important like algebra, but oh well.)

  • rednalgne says:

    Well Holly, like James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, the leader of the Charge Of The Light Brigade for whom the cardigan sweater is named, you may have made a mistake. The pink sweater you are wearing above is a pullover, there is no caption saying it is a cardigan but I think that is implied.

    Still, I would put you in charge of anything!

    • Holly Hester says:

      You are so right! I knew that, I don’t know why I kept thinking cardigan. It’s probably what happens when you write these things at 5:00 a.m.! Thanks for the help — I changed it.

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